a.n. I don't know WHAT I'm doing writing fics the week before exams, but meh, I call it tone down time. I in my breaks, is that a crime? I started this one a while ago (after AGMGTW) but hit a wall. Thankfully I recently found a door in that wall and finished it :)
Disclaimer: I AM THE ALL AND MIGHTY MOFFAT! THE TIME HAS COME FOR YOU PUNY FANS TO KNOW THE TRUUUUUTH!
Oh come on, when has he ever told us the truth? No Daleks in S6 huh?
River could feel years of built up guilt and fear struggling to burst out as she completed her announcement. "I'm your daughter."
It wasn't telling the Doctor that had worried her; for him it was confirmation that she was going to be safe. There was no down side for him. It was a revelation to be sure, just not a particularly ground shaking one for the Time Lord.
For Amy and Rory it was a whole different kettle of fish.
River had been imagining their different responses for a very long time now. Ever since she realised they wouldn't know who she was at some point she had fretted about it. Would they want her to be their daughter? Would they be happy? Sad? Angry?
She knew how hard this was for her, but it looked even harder for Amy and- her parents. The knowledge went through their minds and threatened to make Amy faint. Rory looked, well, shocked. No, beyond shocked. The revelation was followed by a long silence, punctuated only by the drip of pipes that had been blasted by gunfire.
River cleared her throat, looking away from her parents and taking a few steps back, "Well I'd better recalibrate this so I can get you all home."
"B-but, how-?" Was all Amy could say.
The Time Lady ignored her and grabbed Vastra and Jenny, who wisely remained silent, disappearing in a flash of ozone and reappearing so quickly that her parents didn't have the chance to be worried.
"Melody?" Amy managed, Rory was just staring.
River twitched at the name but otherwise made no reaction that she had heard, superfluously fiddling with the wrist strap.
"What's wrong?" Asked Rory.
River sighed, "Nothing, I've just got to get you home. Leadworth."
Amy was still lost. After all she had been through she was on the verge of mental breakdown. "B-but, how can you be Melody?" River remained silent. She could feel a telltale tingling behind her eyes and fought her hardest not to cry. "Melody?" Asked Amy again.
"Don't call me that!" Snapped River before she realised her mistake, "Oh no, Amy..." She trailed off as her mother dissolved into tears before her.
Both Rory and River moved to comfort her but Rory held back, knowing that his wife needed comfort from someone else for once. That someone else happened to be their daughter.
River hugged Amy tightly, who returned the embrace, clinging to the other woman like a lifeline. It was bizarre for both of them. Mother and daughter, though who would know that Amy was the mother? Who could guess River's true age? "I'm sorry," Murmured River, "I-I can't tell you everything, but I'll tell you everything I can, just please stop-" She couldn't go on as a small sob, almost imperceptible, escaped her.
Amy had been shocked when her baby had dissolved into a pool of Flesh. She had been shocked when she discovered that she had not been travelling in the TARDIS, but had instead been held captive on an asteroid for several months. She had been shocked when the Doctor had rescued her in three minutes and forty-two seconds. But that was almost nothing to the amount of shock she felt now. Because River Song was crying.
River didn't cry, it was like a rule. She showed very little emotion beneath her exterior of bravado and innuendo. And yet she had tears running down her face now as she and her mother embraced.
"I'm sorry." Mumbled River, getting her tears under control. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier and... everything."
"Why didn't you tell us?" Amy demanded as they ended the hug.
"I wanted to!" She exclaimed. "Don't ever thing I didn't want to, but I couldn't! Time streams, I could have prevented my own birth."
"But..." Amy trailed off, trying to think of something to say, her eyes darting this way and that until they found a small black device on the ground. "Oh God," She said, looking at her daughter and stepping away from the device, "I pointed a gun at you."
River smiled. If that was the height of Amy's worries then it would be okay. "It's alright. Most of the people I'm closest to have pointed a gun at me."
"Why don't you want us to call you Melody?" Asked Rory out of the blue. He didn't even appear to have heard what they were saying before.
"Because..." River paused. This was where she had to be careful. She couldn't tell them about anything that hadn't happened for them yet. She bit her lip, trying to think of an explanation that was truthful but didn't have any spoilers. "When I was Melody I was helpless," She said, "And I don't like being helpless."
"What happened?" Her parents asked in unison.
She shook her head. "Nothing. It's just the way it was." A piece of wall fell behind them with an almighty clang, making all the Ponds jump. "Look, I don't like it here." Said River, feeling very skittish, one hand on her gun "Do you want to go somewhere less... dangerous?" Demons Run reminded her what it was like to have no control over her fate.
Rory nodded, "Please."
"I never want to come here again." Said Amy.
River smiled, "Don't worry." She said. "You won't. Hands on here."
Her parents placed their hands on the vortex manipulator, River pressed a button and the next thing they knew they were standing inside Amy's house in the evening chill.
"Oh God, I feel horrible!" Exclaimed Amy, swaying to one side.
River caught her before she could fall, "Sorry, that's what happens when you time travel without a capsule."
"Oh, my head." Groaned Rory.
"I just wanna have a hot shower," Said Amy, regaining her feet, "And get out of these clothes."
"No one's stopping you." Smiled her daughter.
River understood her hesitation, "I'll still be here when you're done. I know this is hard."
The redhead nodded groggily and stumbled to the bathroom, shooting frequent glances back as she went.
To River's surprise her father didn't move. "Don't you want to get changed out of those... clothes?" She asked tactfully
Rory smiled a little. "To be honest I'd rather talk to you."
A genuine smile tugged at her lips. "Lead the way then centurion." She didn't want to call him dad yet. He was still getting to grips with the idea.
He chuckled and walked to the kitchen. "Do you drink tea?" He asked.
River laughed, "I'm not that alien."
Rory held up his hands, "Just checking." He found it a little strange how well he got on with River, even now. He had just found out that she was his daughter, a daughter he didn't even know existed one week ago, and yet... "How do you like it?" He asked, now at the kitchen counter with River just a few feet away.
It was a bizarre scene. A Roman making tea for himself and his daughter, who looked more like his mother. "Black, one sugar." Responded River, staring at her fathers face. He was taking this so well.
"Like Mels." Rory chuckled, not noticing how River froze at the name, "I always remembered it by thinking that she was half as sweet as Amy, cos she has two sugars." He looked up from the mugs and passed her one, "Sorry, have you met Mels?"
River had a million responses to that question, but stuck to a simple response. "Yes." She said, gratefully taking the beverage.
"I should give her a call." Said Rory, sitting on a stool, "She'd kill to meet our daughter." He smiled, marvelling at the idea. "You're our daughter."
River matched his look, sitting beside him, "Weird isn't it?"
He gave a laugh that could have been a sigh and dropped his gaze before immediately returning it to the woman before him. Now that he looked, actually looked, he could sort of see it. She had a similar facial structure to him and Amy's smile was on her lips.
Rory's eyes on her made River want to blush and bury her face in her hands. She felt like a kid again. Rory had always had this way of looking at her and seeing everything, which made her feel both uncomfortable and safe at the same time. That's dads for you. She thought.
"I can sort of see it." Said Rory, smiling a bit, "You look the same as Amy does when she's embarrassed."
River blushed and ducked her head causing his smile to widen. River being more open around them made him feel like she was his daughter.
"Did we raise you?" He asked.
Her face froze at the question. Yes. They had, but she didn't want her parents to have false hope that their baby would be returned to them. River opened her mouth to respond when there was the bang of a door upstairs.
"Is she still here?" Amy called.
River laughed, "Yes mum, I haven't run off." She called back.
There were footsteps as her mother came down the stairs and into the kitchen. Her hair was damp from the shower and she was dressed in a too big shirt and long baggy pants. "Good." She said, gratefully taking the offered mug of tea from her husband and sitting beside him.
It really was a beautiful evening. The sun had just set, the final calls of birds were fading from the air as they retreated to their nests and the family were sitting in the kitchen, drinking hot tea.
"Did we raise you?" Reiterated Rory.
River bit her lip. "Yes, in a manner of speaking."
Amy frowned, "How can it be 'in a manner of speaking'? Either we did or we didn't."
"You did. I just..." She paused, "It'll make more sense to you soon, but please remember, I wouldn't change my life for anything."
"Not even getting taken like that?" Rory asked. He found it hard to believe that anyone could think of an up side to that situation.
River hesitated but shook her head decisively, "No. I wouldn't be part Time Lord if not for that, and it's saved my life on several occasions, not to mentions yours and the Doctor's" She didn't mention that she was the reason that the Doctor's life was in danger in the first place. Not spoilers so much as guilt.
"What happened?" Asked Amy. "After you were taken."
"I don't remember." Said River, "I was only a baby."
Rory's eyes were fixed on his daughter with unusual intensity. "You do know though."
River sighed. "God I hate the you know when I'm lying." She grumbled under her breath. "Yes, I do," She said louder, "But I can't tell you yet."
"Okay, new question then." Said Amy, "Did we meet you as a child? Before today."
River paused for an almost imperceptible moment. "No." she said.
"River..." Reprimanded Rory.
Now she was in trouble. It was bad enough when they knew she was lying, but when it was a white lie, a yes or no response, then they knew the answer as well, not just that the answer she presented wasn't true. And there had to be a reason for the lie.
A memory struck Amy like lightning. America. The little girl with no family who lived in the children's home, crying for help in the night. Kidnapped by the Silence.
It must have shown on her face because the other two were looking at her in concern. "Amy?" Asked River, hoping that she hadn't worked it out.
The spacesuit coming towards her, Amy trying to change an unchangeable future, seizing the gun off the floor and turning to the person in the spacesuit.
Firing the gun. The child's face in the visor. The blood drained from her face.
Amy was shaking like a leaf in a storm. "I-I-"
"It's okay, it's okay." Said Rory, trying to be comforting even though he didn't know what was wrong.
There was a sharp crash as Amy's cup fell to the tiled floor and cracked. "I shot you." She choked out.
"No," Said River, "No you didn't, you only pointed it at me, remember?" Hoping against hope that Amy was talking about earlier that night. Rory carefully picked up the shards of Amy's cup, placing them on the bench.
"America." Breathed Amy, "I remember."
River closed her eyes. She hated that her mother was going through this now. Hadn't she been through enough over the last few days? "You didn't know it was me." She said quietly.
"Sorry, I'm a bit lost here." Said Rory, trying to work out what the two women were talking about.
"River, I-I'm so..."
"It's okay," Her daughter replied. "You missed." She turned to her father. "America, 1969."
"Yeah, what about it?"
Amy replied, though she looked like the guilt was going to swallow her up. "The little girl who was lost at the base in Florida. S-she..." She couldn't go on, though thankfully Rory understood now.
"River?" He asked.
It was easy to tell River's response from her pose. Her arms were crossed around her waist, her shoulders were slightly hunched and she wouldn't look either of them in the eye. "Yes." She whispered, "That was me."
"River, I-I didn't-"
"It's okay," Her daughter said again, this time rising to embrace Amy momentarily, "Really. Look at me. I'm fine. You didn't know who I was, and you regretted it anyway." She shook her head, "I don't blame you."
Amy shook her head disbelievingly. "How can you just forgive me for that?"
River laughed. "Just you wait." She said.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Asked Rory, raising one eyebrow.
She bit her lip. "Let's just say I was a bit of a problem child."
Amy smiled a little, her guilt fading into the background, "Why am I not surprised?"
River tried to look indignant but couldn't hold the expression and the three of them started laughing. It was nice, decided River, that her parents were happy, especially after everything that had happened.
"Are you gonna stay?" Asked Amy, her eyes begging the answer to be yes.
The question pulled River up short. She hadn't expected to be asked. "I-I don't know. I've got to get back..."
Rory rolled his eyes, "First of all it's a prison, it's not like you were allowed out in the first place. Secondly even if you were, you've got time travel! Anyway, you've gotta meet Mels and everyone."
"I'll tell you what," Said the Time Lady, a smile growing on her lips, "I'll stay the night if I don't have to meet Mels 'and everyone'. No offence but it'd be a little awkward."
Rory chuckled. "Point taken."
River smiled. I doubt it. She thought, but didn't say anything.
Then she remembered Berlin all at once. "Look, when you..." She broke off, trying to think of a way to say it. "After-... When you next see the Doctor, a lot of things are going to happen very quickly." Amy and Rory were staring. She looked a little worked up. "Just know that I'm sorry about what happened."
Her parents then did something River didn't expect. She thought they would superfluously ask what had happened. Instead they rose in unison and hugged her.
"It's okay." Said Rory.
"You're already forgiven." Mumbled Amy. "It works both ways."
River sighed and returned the embrace. Forgiveness, she decided, was definitely worth it.
"But you've gotta tell me what there is with you and the Doctor!" Cried Amy, breaking the hug and looking at her daughter expectantly.
River laughed at the sudden change in conversation. "Oh, a lady never kisses and tells."
"Ooh, so you've kissed him huh?" Asked Amy, trying to tease her.
It didn't work very well. "Wouldn't you like to know?" River shot back. She'd been playing this game for a long time.
"Now you listen to me young lady," Said Rory, desperately trying not to laugh, "You'd better be careful."
"Yeah," Agreed Amy, biting her lip, "Or you're grounded."
River smiled widely. "But mum!" She whined in her best teenage voice.
They all burst out laughing at that. They were a bizarre family, but they were still a family. Not one of them would give that up for anything.
Amy suddenly yawned. "Okay," Said Rory, "Time for bed."
Their daughter smirked, "But I don't wanna go to bed!" She whined as they stood up.
The red-head smiled and shoved her, "Stop it."
River laughed, "Never. I've been saving these up for years."
"Oh goody." Rory sarcastically remarked.
They ascended the stairs in a comfortable silence. For the first time in a long while all the Ponds were happy.
"Do you know when we'll see the Doctor again?" Asked Rory as they showed River to her room.
She paused. "Soon enough."
Amy sighed, "But what if it's not?"
River shrugged, "Just do what I do."
"What, carve his name in a giant cliff?" Asked Amy, giggling a little.
The Time Lady's eyes lit up. "That's not a bad idea!" She exclaimed. "I'll have to try that."
Amy laughed and hugged her daughter again. "Goodnight River."
"Goodnight mum." She said, this time with no sarcasm. She hugged Rory, "'Night Dad."
They liked the sound of that.
a.n. I'm actually pretty happy with this, I really wanted to put in the 'but MUM!' bit cos I was thinking of Cartmen when I wrote it :P
Review, puny fans!
P.S. Opinion poll. Should I get a friend to mind my TARDIS over Christmas break, or get a lot of helium balloons and send it up into the skies?